Hundreds pack Richmond hearing on Confederate monuments

Photo credit: WRIC
Photo credit: WRIC(WHSV)
Published: Aug. 10, 2017 at 3:38 PM EDT
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Hundreds of people in Richmond have packed a contentious community meeting to weigh in on what should be done with the city's Confederate monuments.

Local media report more than 500 people gathered Wednesday night at the Virginia Historical Society and more were turned away due to space restrictions. The meeting was the first of two public comment sessions that have been scheduled as a commission studies adding context to the statues or building new ones.

“I think we can be on the forefront of this,” guest speaker Ann Harper Pitman said. “We don’t have to do what other cities are doing.”

Mayor Levar Stoney has said he does not think the statues should be removed, though a number of speakers said that option should be on the table. Others said the monuments should be untouched.

“Read history,” Barry Isenhour with the Virginia Flaggers said. “There’s all the context you need. Just read history. Quit trying to reinterpret history though the21st-century view.”

“Now is the time for us to finally put the past in the past and take down participation trophies for the losing side of a war,” said one speaker, who identified herself as Helena.

Attendees at times shouted, cheered, booed and cried. Another community meeting is set for next month.

The next public hearing is scheduled for September 13. Anyone who spoke at Wednesday’s meeting will not be allowed to speak again.

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